Session Title: a story to Count On Focal Passage: Luke 1: 1-4 Central Teaching/Learning Aim

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INTERACTIVE TEACHING/LEARNING GUIDE

The Universal Savior – Week 1

A Study of the Gospel of Luke (Part 1)

Session Title: A Story to Count On

Focal Passage: Luke 1:1-4
Central Teaching/Learning Aim: The learner will be introduced to the Book of Luke and challenged to place their hope on the only person who can be counted on – Jesus our universal Savior.


  1. Hook




  1. Display and share the following list of some of the worst predictions of all time:


Really Bad Predictions
In a recent article in The Futurist magazine, writer Laura Lee catalogues some of the worst predictions of all time:
"Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further developments." —Roman engineer Julius Sextus Frontinus, A.D. 100
"The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon." —John Eric Ericksen, surgeon to Queen Victoria, 1873
"Law will be simplified [over the next century]. Lawyers will have diminished, and their fees will have been vastly curtailed." —journalist Junius Henri Browne, 1893
"It doesn't matter what he does, he will never amount to anything." —Albert Einstein's teacher to Einstein's father, 1895
"It would appear we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology." —computer scientist John von Neumann, 1949
"The Japanese don't make anything the people in the U.S. would want." —Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, 1954

"Nuclear powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality within ten years." —Alex Lewyt, president of the Lewyt Vacuum Cleaner Company, quoted in The New York Times, June 10, 1955

"Before man reaches the moon, your mail will be delivered within hours from New York to Australia by guided missiles. We stand on the threshold of rocket mail." —Arthur Summerfield, U.S. Postmaster General under Eisenhower, 1959

"By the turn of the century, we will live in a paperless society." —Roger Smith, chairman of General Motors, 1986
"I predict the Internet . . . will go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse." —Bob Metcalfe, InfoWorld, 1995
The Futurist, (September/October, 2000), p. 20-25
Next – Ask members to list answers to the following question: “What do people place their confidence in?” (Record answers on the marker board.) (Money, relationships, jobs, things, hobbies, clubs, church, etc.)
Ask – Can any of these things be fully counted on?
Next read (Luke 1:1-4).
Luke says he writes an account of the life of Jesus to give an orderly account, an account that can be fully counted on!
Next – Utilizing question #1 on the discussion guide give a brief overview of the background for Luke.
State – Today we begin our tour through the Book of Luke. We will do part 1 in the next 18 weeks and part 2 at a later date. It will be a great study as we observe our “Ultimate Savior.”


  1. Optional Method – Web clip – Believers and skeptics react to failed doomsday prediction.


Location: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/22/may-21-judgment-day-may-22_n_865298.html

Length: 1:45
Synopsis: May 21 ‘Judgment Day’ Believers React To Being Alive On May 22 – First posted: 05/22/11 05:36 PM ET

‘Judgment Day’ came and went on Saturday, and John Ramsey hasn’t been able to sleep.

The 25-year-old Harrison, N.J. resident had rearranged his life in recent months to devote himself to spreading a fringe California preacher's prediction that May 21 would bring worldwide earthquakes and usher in a five-month period of misery before the world's destruction.

Like many of those convinced of the Rapture was pending, Ramsey quit his job, donated "a couple thousand" to Harold Camping's Family Radio network and convinced family members to join him to spread news of the Rapture on Manhattan streets.

His family nervously huddled in their apartment living room Saturday, holding their Bibles open, switching between CNN, Facebook and Google for news of quakes in the Pacific.

They cried. They hugged. They argued. But mostly, they waited. Nothing happened.

On Sunday, a dejected Ramsey said he faces a "mixed bag."

He has to find a new job. So does his mother. His 19-year-old brother, who had quit high school the year prior ("It's pointless to graduate," the brother had said), is thinking of re-enrolling or finding employment.

His wife, Marcia Paladines, had come to accept that she might never meet her unborn baby, whom she and Ramsey had named John Moses. Now, she's praying for a healthy birth. The child is due as early as Friday.

"Life goes on," Ramsey said Sunday. "I get to live. I get to be a dad."

The May 21 prediction came from the Biblical numerology of Harold Camping, an 89-year-old televangelist who owns the Oakland, Calif.-based Christian Family Radio network. Camping had previously predicted a similar end-times scenario in 1994.

Several Camping followers previously interviewed by The Huffington Post did not return phone calls and emails Sunday. But a few did publicly declare their reactions.

"I guess no man knows the day or the hour," said Peter Lombardi, a 44-year-old from Jersey City, N.J. who had had taken an "indefinite break" from his job in April to preach about May 21.

He had fitted his Dodge minivan with stickers proclaiming the "awesome news" of Judgment Day and paraded with neon green Caravans through Manhattan's business districts to hand hundreds of fliers about the date. On Sunday, he was peeling the stickers off.

Lombardi said he is going back to work -- he owns a construction business -- and said he has "no regrets." He added, "I'm not disappointed. I'm still living today." He believes Camping and others must have read the Bible incorrectly.


Ask – What should our response be when someone tries to predict the date of Christ’s return? (We should pay no attention, because the Bible says no man will know.)
Next read (Luke 1:1-4).
Luke says he writes an account of the life of Jesus to give an orderly account, an account that can be fully counted on!
Next – Utilizing question #1 on the discussion guide give a brief overview of the background for Luke.
State – Today we begin our tour through the Book of Luke. We will do part 1 in the next 18 weeks and part 2 at a later date. It will be a great study as we observe our “Ultimate Savior.”


  1. Optional Method – Web Clip – This clip can be purchased and downloaded from bluefishtv.com


Location: http://www.bluefishtv.com/Store/Downloadable_Video_Illustrations/2307/Questioning_Gods_Existence/f=s1&scid=1005&cc=&csc=&ldr=&s=dependence

Length: 02:24
Synopsis: Hunter’s parents have always had that “spark” for God, but he wonders why he doesn’t have the same passion. In this real-life video illustration, he shares candidly about questioning God’s existence and why people are suffering in the world.
Ask – What do you think about Hunter’s openness and honesty? Is it ok to have doubts about God? Why or why not? When having doubts what is the only thing you can truly count on for instruction and clarification? (The Bible.)
Next read (Luke 1:1-4).
Luke says he writes an account of the life of Jesus to give an orderly account, an account that can be fully counted on!

Next – Utilizing question #1 on the discussion guide give a brief overview of the background for Luke.

State – Today we begin our tour through the Book of Luke. We will do part 1 in the next 18 weeks and part 2 at a later date. It will be a great study as we observe our “Ultimate Savior.”



  1. Book



  1. Utilize the discussion guide to examine the Scripture passages.




  1. Look




  1. Place members into groups and have them complete the group assignments.




  1. Took




  1. Distribute the handout, H.O.P.E. and guide members to complete it. If you do not have time during class ask them to work on this at home.

DISCUSSION GUIDE

Teacher Copy


  1. List some of the background facts for the Gospel of Luke:

a. Luke is the longest book in the New Testament

b. Over 50% of Luke’s Gospel is unique, not found in any other New Testament accounts

c. Author – Luke, Paul’s missionary companion

Facts about Luke

1. He was from Antioch of Syria

2. He was a physician

3. He was single

4. He wrote from Achaia

5. He died at the age of 84 in Boetia

d. Date of writing – late A.D. 50s or early A. D. 60s

e. Recipients

1. Theophilus – probably a government official whose name means “lover of God”

2. Gentiles – The Gospel is for all people (Luke 2:10)


f. Purpose of Luke’s writing – to give an accurate, eyewitness account of Jesus, the Son of Man and “Ultimate Savior” to the Gentiles


  1. Was Luke the first account written about the life of Christ? (Luke 1:1)

[No, many accounts had already been written.]


  1. How were these accounts about Christ communicated? (v. 2)

[They were passed on by eyewitnesses and “servants of the Word”, people who proclaimed the Gospel to the early church.]


  1. Although we have the written Word why is it imperative that we pass on the Gospel through word and deed?




  1. What does the phrase “from the beginning” in (v. 2) mean?

[These servants of the Word were with Jesus from the start.]


  1. How does Luke establish his credibility in (v. 3)?

[He says he has followed Jesus from the start and wrote an orderly account.]


  1. Why is the phrase “that you may know for certain” such an important point? (v. 4)

[Luke wanted to establish credibility and confidence in his account of the life of Jesus.]


  1. How many things in this life can you “know for certain”?




  1. Do you know for certain that Jesus is the Ultimate Savior of your soul? Why or why not?

DISCUSSION GUIDE

Student Copy


  1. List some of the background facts for the Gospel of Luke:

a.

b.

c.


Facts about Luke

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

d.

e.

1.

2.

f.


  1. Was Luke the first account written about the life of Christ? (Luke 1:1)



  1. How were these accounts about Christ communicated? (v. 2)



  1. Although we have the written Word why is it imperative that we pass on the Gospel through word and deed?



  1. What does the phrase “from the beginning” in (v. 2) mean?



  1. How does Luke establish his credibility in (v. 3)?



  1. Why is the phrase “that you may know for certain” such an important point? (v. 4)



  1. How many things in this life can you “know for certain”?



  1. Do you know for certain that Jesus is the Ultimate Savior of your soul? Why or why not?


Group Assignment
Group 1 Read the following and discuss the questions that follow.

Studies Reveal That Americans Are Severely Sleep-Deprived

A new survey concluded that Americans are among the world's leaders in sleep deprivation. Although the Bible promises that God "grants sleep to those he loves" (Psalm 127:2), apparently most Americans don't or can't believe it. Recent research revealed the following statistics:




  • The United States (along with France and Taiwan) ranks among the top three most sleep-deprived nations in the world. New York is the most sleep-deprived city in the world.

  • Most sleep-deprived Americans (66 percent) can't sleep because they're anxious about finances.

  • Sleep-deprived Americans report that this issue negatively impacts their physical health (57 percent), their mental health (48 percent), and their home life (46 percent).

  • An estimated 50 to 70 million American adults have chronic sleep loss or a sleep disorder of some kind.

  • A recent study by AAA found that two out of five U.S. drivers had unintentionally fallen asleep at the wheel.

  • A 14-year study conducted by Penn State University found that men who slept less than six hours a night were four times more likely to die over the 14-year period than men who got at least seven hours a sleep per night.

  • In a study of nearly 3,000 17- to 24-year-olds, researchers found that for each hour of lost sleep, levels of psychological distress rose by 5 percent.

  • Overall, short sleepers were 14 percent more likely to report symptoms of psychological distress, compared with people who got adequate sleep.



  • Meredith Melnick, "Why Americans Are Among the Most Sleepless People in the World," Time (11-11-10); Meredith Melnick, "Sleep America: Are You Getting Enough Rest at Night?" Time (3-4-11)

1. Share how many hours of sleep you typically get each night.

2. What impacts your sleep?

3. How should the hope of the Gospel impact anxiety?

4. Pray for each group member to find peace and rest for their souls this week and have a confidence in the certainty of the Gospel.

Group 2 Read the following and discuss the questions that follow.

The Cost of Contentment
A new study in Britain has found a surprising answer to an old question, “How much is enough?” Yahoo Personal Finance in Britain surveyed 2500 people of working age, and asked them to make a series of choices based on having all the money they needed. The results suggest that money, if you have enough, can buy a measure of happiness. Based on the respondent’s answers, the cost of contentment is around 2.66 million British pounds. That is a little over 3 million US dollars. The cost of contentment was calculated from the average value of the choices concerning which food, cars, vacations, etc, that people would “chose if money were no object.” Occupational stress consultant Carole Spiers says, “While money alone cannot buy you happiness, a lack of it can mean a more stressful, less fulfilled and ultimately less happy life.” The study found that women generally said they needed slightly more money than men to keep them happy. Unfortunately, the study also found it would take the average worker at an average pay rate, 94 years to accumulate the needed financial resources to achieve financial happiness.
Rueters, January 8, 2003, Money can buy Happiness
1. Can money buy happiness?

2. What can happen if a person puts all of their confidence in material possessions?

3. If all of your material possessions and money were gone could you survive?

4. How should the hope of the Gospel impact your priorities on material things?

5. Pray for each other to rely on the only thing that can be counted on, the Gospel.

Group 3 Read the following and discuss the questions that follow.


Making Relationships Last

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a non-profit association of attorneys, surveyed their 1500 members and compiled a report of the results of that survey in a booklet entitled Making Marriages Last. In it, they say, “Not all marriages fail for the same reason. Nor is there usually one reason for the breakdown of a particular marriage. Nevertheless, we hear some reasons more often than others. They are: poor communication, financial problems, lack of commitment to the marriage, a dramatic change in priorities, [and] infidelity.”

http://www.aaml.org/Marriage_Last/MarriageLastText.htm
1. Should you put all of your trust and confidence in a relationship even marriage? Why or why not?

2. What are some reasons that you have seen marriages or relationships shattered?

3. What is the only relationship that can truly be counted on?

4. Pray for each member to spend more time on their relationship with Jesus this week.

Group 4 Read the following and discuss the questions that follow.
A New Study…
A new study conducted in Great Britain suggests that a people’s spiritual beliefs affect the way they grieve the loss of a loved one. The study set out to explore the relationship between spiritual beliefs and the resolution of bereavement by following relatives and close friends of patients who died of terminal illnesses at a London Care Facility.
The main finding of the study was that the strength of spiritual belief was an important factor in predicting the outcome of bereavement. People with a low strength of belief resolved their grief more slowly during the first nine months, but by 14 months had caught up with people who expressed strong spiritual beliefs. Participants with no spiritual beliefs had a higher grief scores than the remainder at one month and 14 month follow up points. The study also found that the degree of closeness to the person who died and the level of emotional distress before the death increased feelings of grief, but neither affected the rate at which grief was resolved. The researches concluded that spiritual beliefs provide a framework in which grief is resolved more readily. Whether these beliefs are associated with religious practice nor not, they contain tenets about the course of human life and existence after death. People with stronger beliefs were able to adjust to a loss better, and suffered less psychological distress.

www.bmj.com, June 29, 2002

1. How do people with no Christian belief handle death?

2. How does the hope of the Gospel give you confidence even in facing death?

3. How has your faith carried you through the death of loved ones?

4. Pray for each member to be prepared for death and to face it with hope and assurance.

H.O.P.E.
Complete the following to build practical steps for a living faith, which increases hope for the journey.
His Body – We find hope in our relationships in the Body of Christ.

Who is my encouragement/accountability partner?

In a given week, how often do I discuss spiritual matters with others?

Am I serving others for the cause of Christ? How?

How can I make more of an impact for Christ?

Opening His Word – Spending time in God’s Word adds hope for life’s trials.

How often do I read the Bible other than at church?

How could I increase my time in God’s Word?

How many Scriptures have I hid in my heart?

Prayer Power – Our prayer life gives us direct access to God’s power.

Is my spiritual battery fully charged, partially charged, or running on empty?

In a given week, How much time do I devote to prayer?

Make a list of people and things I should pray for using the ACTS outline:

Adoration (Praise God)

Confession of sin

Thanksgiving

Supplication (Interceding for others)

Eternal Living – Living each day like you are living forever should add hope to your future.

What things do I let get to me?

Put these things into eternal perspective. How do they change?

Thee Word for the Week

Two Miraculous Conceptions

Luke 1:5-56

Monday – Read Luke 1:5-25

Notice that God works in and through the “institutions of Israel” & the patterns of Old Testament practices to carry out His purposes. […the casting of lots, a vision in the temple, a heavenly messenger, a promise, a sign, an old couple]



  • Are we at times guilty of looking outside the “institutions of the church” and the patterns of New Testament practices to encounter God?

  • Do you desire some ecstatic experience outside God’s normative way of working through the means he has established [i.e. Scripture, prayer, worship, fellowship with God’s people, etc.] or are you faithfully seeking & serving God within those means?

  • If you have elevated ecstatic experience over faithful seeking & serving then take some time today to incline yourself to those means God has established and set forth a plan to remain faithful to them.

Tuesday – Read Luke 1:26-38

Notice Mary’s response in verse 38 to the angel’s announcement of the role she would play in God’s redemptive purpose.


  • Undoubtedly Mary played a unique role in God’s purpose as the mother of Jesus and despite the fact that we cannot play that unique role, there is still a role for us to play in the unfolding of redemptive history. We play our role to the degree that we say, by faith and with Mary, “I am the servant of the Lord…”

  • Considering the gifts, skills, & passions God has endowed you with, are you playing your role well? What priorities need to be adjusted in order to play your role well?

Wednesday – Read Luke 1:26-38

Notice the content of the angels’ declaration in verse 37.

  • How are these words illustrated in the lives of not only Mary, but also her cousin Elizabeth?


  • How have these words been illustrated in your life?

  • Take a few moments in prayerful adoration to express your gratitude to God for accomplishing the impossible task of redeeming you for His purposes.

Thursday – Read Luke 1:39-45

Notice Elizabeth’s response to Mary’s arrival in verses 42-45.


  • How does Elizabeth’s response to Mary’s visitation foreshadow John’s response to the arrival of Jesus [Luke 3:15-17]?

  • How is this a picture of the response of the faithful in every generation to God’s anointed? Is this a picture of your response to God’s anointed?

Friday – Read Luke 1:46-56

Notice the glaring contrasts in verses 51-55 between the proud and the humble, the mighty and the servants, the rich and the hungry. The former are scattered, brought down, and sent away empty while the latter are exalted, filled, and helped.


  • This how the gospel works: those who set themselves against it and see no need for it do so ultimately to their own demise while those who come under it out of a sense of their own need ultimately do so to their own good.

  • How do you respond to the gospel message? What will be the result of your response?

EXEGETICAL – PEDAGOGICAL – THEOLOGICAL

NOTE: As you begin this study of Luke, you, the teacher, would do well to read several “introductions” to the Gospel as found not only in Barclay’s Luke: Daily Bible Study Series, but also in a good study Bible (like MacArthur’s, Nelson’s, etc.) and in a commentary of your choice (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary, Darrell Bock’s massive commentary on Luke, etc.). Especially insightful is Bock’s “A Theology of Luke-Acts” in A Biblical Theology of the New Testament, edited by Roy B. Zuck, pp. 87-166. You will likely want to share with your class some of the important background material regarding The Gospel of Luke as you start this series.

You will discover that Luke, the author of Luke-Acts, was Paul’s missionary companion from the time of the apostle’s Macedonian call (Acts 16:9-10 – note the “we” of verse 10) to the time of Paul’s execution in Rome (2 Timothy 4:11). The Gospel was written, along with its companion volume, The Acts of the Apostles, somewhere around 60-62 A.D. (perhaps a little later). Both volumes focused on the verifiable truth that Jesus was the Savior of Gentiles, women, children, tax collectors, sinners, and outcasts as well as Jews, the rich, and the connected – the Savior of all who knew their own need for forgiveness of sins (Luke 19:10; 24:47).


NOTE: The bold in each point represents the subject of the unit – what the author was taking about, while the bold underline represents the complement – what Luke, the author, was saying about what he was talking about. Together they subject and complement provide the proposition of big ideas of each unit.
(Exegetical: What it meant to Theophilus back THEN)

THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH LUKE WROTE HIS OWN DILIGENTLY RESEARCHED AND ORDERLY ACCOUNT OF THE EVENTS/DEEDS, FROM THE BEGINNING, WHICH HAD BEEN FULFILLED BY JESUS CHRIST AMONG HIS FOLLOWERS [AND BEFORE A WATCHING WORLD], EVEN THOUGH OTHER EYEWITNESSES HAD WRITTEN THEIR OWN NARRATIVE/STORY . . . WAS SO THAT THEOPHILUS

MIGHT KNOW WITH CERTAINTY

THE TEACHING (“WORDS”) HE HAD BEEN TAUGHT.

NOTE: The Gospel writer Luke was a Gentile believer in contrast to Matthew, Mark, and John, who were Jewish. Luke wrote primarily to a single individual, though he anticipated that others would also read his story – his telling, in Luke-Acts, of the true events of Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and promised return. Luke wrote to a Gentile believer. He wrote to verify that and explain how Jesus had fulfilled the Old Testament Scriptures concerning the Jewish Messiah and to demonstrate that those Scriptures, properly understood, had promised not merely a Jewish Messiah for Israel, but a Universal Savior for all the nations (see Luke 2:30-32; 24:44-47; Acts 28:23-28). [Barclay’s comment on p. xv notes that Matthew quoted many more OT passages that show Jesus as the fulfillment of many Messianic promises. Luke does not offer as many quotes, but still draws deeply on the fulfillment theme – Jesus is the Messiah for the Gentiles.] Theophilus, who was likely Luke’s patron (financial backer and publisher), could rest assured that Jesus was his Savior too and could know with certainty that anyone who heard the gospel proclaimed and believed in Jesus would be saved, whether Jew or Gentile (Luke 7:1-10; Acts 10:44-45; 15:12-19; 16:30-31). Compare Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 2:11-18 where Jesus “broke down the middle wall of separation” allowing the Gentile to come into the presence of the one true God.

I. Luke’s observation to Theophilus concerning the events/deeds that had been fulfilled [by Jesus Christ] among them [their contemporaries] . . . was that many had undertaken to write a narrative/story about them, (Luke 1:1).


NOTE: Two items, at least, are noteworthy here. First, Luke introduces the concept of “Fulfillment” early on. “Fulfillment” is the heart and soul of his argument. Jesus fulfilled what had been promised in the Jewish Scriptures! And what had been promised? That the Jewish Messiah was the universal Savior. The Son of Man who had “come to seek and to save that which was lost,” (19:10) came for the Gentiles as well as Israel.

Second, Luke was aware of other Gospel accounts. He drew his material not only from conversations with eyewitnesses and written accounts that are now lost to us, but also from the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, which were most likely written before Luke’s. Luke did not disparage those accounts. Nearly sixty percent of Mark’s story is included in Luke’s Gospel. Rather, Luke wrote his own account because his agenda/goal was different from the previous gospels. Luke wrote to a different (from Matthew’s and Mark’s) audience not to evangelize, but to encourage him (Theophilus) in his salvation experience and to challenge him to share his hope of salvation with others, be they Jew or Gentile.

II. The source of those who had delivered their narrative/story about the events/deeds that had been fulfilled [by Jesus Christ] among them . . . were eyewitnesses from the beginning [of Jesus’ events/deeds] and ministers of the word, (1:2).

NOTE: Because Luke’s purpose was that his reader(s) “know” with “certainty” what he/they had been taught about Jesus, it was important that he base his account on actual eyewitnesses, men and women who had been with Jesus, heard His authoritative words, seen His miraculous works, and witness Him alive from the dead. Truth was important to Luke. The facts upon which his theological message was based were verifiable by individuals who had “heard, seen, and touched” (see 1 John 1:1) Jesus. Paul made this same argument in 1 Corinthians 15:5-8 regarding the resurrection in particular. The integrity of the Bible was the concern here. You must either accept that the events of Luke’s Gospel actually happened and submit to the demands they make on your life, or you are forced to deny Luke’s veracity and reject the implications and commands of the Scriptures. Luke knew what was at stake and addressed the issue head on.

III. Luke’s conclusion, having diligently traced out [researched] from the beginning [of Jesus’ life, or “from above” i.e., under divine supervision] all those events/deeds [fulfilled by Jesus Christ] . . . was that he also should write to the most excellent Theophilus an [his own] orderly account, (1:3).


NOTE: Luke was an educated scientist and careful physician (Colossians 4:14) as well as an eloquent writer (scholars say his Greek is magnificent). He understood the importance of accuracy. He defended his diligent methods of investigation and his logical/sequential style of writing. Three words point to his reliability as a theological narrator. First, his tracing out (research) of the events of Jesus’ life was “diligent.” Second, his narrative “from the very first” or “from above,” – depending on how one translates the phrase – either demonstrates the inclusiveness of his work (from the conception of John/Jesus) or attributes his writing to a work of God (cp. 1 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21). In either case, the phrase signals credibility. Third, Luke’s “orderly” or “sequential” account does not necessarily imply a chronological order, but a logically developed theology argument. Again, Luke was acutely aware of how critics might challenge the integrity of his theological narrative. Enemies of the truth had rejected and persecuted John and Jesus and His followers. They would seek to refute and dismiss his document as well. Thus, all that he would write would be scrupulously researched and accurately written.

IV. The purpose for which Luke wrote his own diligently traced out [researched] and orderly account of the events/deeds fulfilled [by Jesus Christ] from the beginning [or “from above”] among them, even though other eyewitnesses had written their own narrative/story . . . was so that Theophilus might know with certainty the teaching (“words”) he had been taught, (1:4).


NOTE: Here is Luke’s purpose statement. Although he intends to tell a story in the inductive fashion of a typical narrative, Luke’s purpose/message is stated deductively for all to see . . . both here at the beginning (1:4; 2:32) and again at the end of both Luke (24:44-47) and Acts (28:28).

Tannehill’s The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts summarizes the effect of truly hearing Luke’s Gospel. “As part of its strategy of bringing assurance through story, the Lukan narrative highlights . . . rejection so that it may show how resistance, conflict, and disappointment are being absorbed into a larger pattern which points toward God’s victory – an ironic victory because the forces of rejection and experiences of suffering are themselves becoming the means by which God’s purpose (the saving purpose of God for Jew and Gentile through Jesus Messiah) is accomplished in the world” (p. 12). This thesis is wonderfully supported by Peter’s claim that God’s sovereign will was accomplished in the crucifixion of Jesus by the Jewish leaders (see Acts 2:22-24, 36).

(Theological: What it means for God’s people ALWAYS)

THE INTEGRITY OF LUKE’S STORY (OF HOW GOD’S PURPOSE OF SAVING THE GENTILES IN ADDITION TO THE JEWS THROUGH THE DEATH, RESURRECTION, AND ASCENSION OF JESUS TRIUMPHED OVER PERSISTENT REJECTION) . . . RESTS ON HIS DILIGENT RESEARCH, THE EYEWITNESSES’ VERIFIABLE TESTIMONY, AND HIS OWN THEOLOGICALLY DEVELOPED NARRATIVE, (Luke 1:1-4).

or

THE BIBLE IS TRUSTWORTHY BECAUSE IT IS TRUTHFUL.

(Pedagogical: What it means for us TODAY)

TRUST YOUR BIBLE . . . TO THE POINT OF OBEDIENCE.


  1. Luke’s story of how God began to fulfill His promise to bless all the nations in the person of Jesus is trustworthy because it is truthful, (Luke 1:1-4).

  2. Trust Luke’s story enough to believe in Jesus, repent, and be forgiven, (Acts 16:30-31; Luke 24:44-47).

  3. Trust Luke’s story enough to witness what you have experienced, (Luke 24:48-49; Acts 1:8).

NOTE: The major thrust of this lesson is on the integrity, the truthfulness and trustworthiness of the Bible. But this lesson can also serve as an introduction to the Gospel of Luke – see the Overview of Luke 1:1-12:48 to prepare yourself and your students for the series.

The “Preface” presents the reader with the purpose and theme of the Gospel, and reveals the “beginning” of God’s work of bringing salvation to all people through the persons of John, who would “go before” the Savior and of Jesus, the Savior (1:47; 2:11) who would be “a light to the Gentiles and the glory of Israel.”

The “Preparation” tells of Jesus’ introduction by John, and His qualifications – to fulfill the role of Son of Man, His testing in the desert, and His teaching and healing among the people in Galilee. This section also prepares the reader for the persistent rejection that Jesus and His followers will face throughout the story.

The “Presentation” section takes place in Galilee. The reader now begins to accumulate all the evidence that Jesus is, indeed, Isaiah’s promised prophet. He teaches and preaches with divine authority, He heals and performs wonderful miracles of all kinds – even raising the dead, He gathers His followers as faith spreads among the physically and spiritually needy. But this section closes with a shadow falling over Jesus and His followers. Persecution, suffering, sacrifice, and death loom up as the religious authorities reject the work of God in Jesus.


The “Passage” section begins at 9:51 and will continue through 19:44. We will look at only part of Jesus’ resolute journey toward Jerusalem – the place of final rejection, crucifixion, and then triumph. This passage to Jerusalem is a time of training for the disciples. They must learn what it means to follow Jesus, to carry out God’s plan to bless the nations. It will be costly. It will require discipline. It will encounter constant conflict. It will be fraught with danger. All this the disciples must endure faithfully to the end, an end that God will right with glory!




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